The large study adds to a growing list of conditions previously thought to be helped by vitamin D supplementation.
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Vitamin D supplements have long been touted to offer a myriad of health benefits, including protection against cognitive decline, cancer and bone fractures, and even prolonging life. But research published today (July 28) in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) concluded that high-dose vitamin D pills offered no protection against bone fractures or osteoporosis in middle-aged and older adults, regardless of the factors , such as gender, age. and race.
“In general, people shouldn’t be throwing vitamins around, and if you’re trying to prevent fractures, vitamin D alone isn’t enough,” Columbia University Medical Center endocrinologist Ethel Siris tells NBC.
The research comes as an add-on study to the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL), which enrolled nearly 26,000 participants — all US men over 50 or women over 55 — to measure the effects of vitamin D supplementation versus placebo in several medical conditions.
As The New York Times reports, bone fractures and osteoporosis now join the list of several other uses of vitamin D supplements uncovered by the VITAL study. For example, earlier analyzes of the data found that the supplements did not protect against the development of cancer or cardiovascular disease, falls, cognitive decline, migraines, stroke, macular degeneration or joint pain — nor did they reduce body weight or BMI.
Although millions of Americans take these supplements, according to the Times, some experts who reviewed the data now say it’s not worth doing without a specific reason, such as an extreme deficit.
See “Trials look to answer whether vitamin D could help in COVID-19”
Medical Center Research Institute scientist Steven Cummings and NEJM editor Clifford Rosen, also a senior scientist at the Maine Medical Research Institute, writes in an accompanying NEJM editorial.
As the controversy surrounding the flawed research that demonstrated the supposed benefits of the Mediterranean diet has shown, conducting thorough and accurate nutrition research is particularly difficult because of the myriad of other variables in a person’s lifestyle that can affect health outcomes, and the difficulty of ensuring that they stick. a particular diet or list exactly what they have consumed in the past.
While the VITAL study is logistically simpler—placebo-controlled, blinded analyzes of the results of a single supplement are easier to conduct than those involving a person’s entire diet—it also had some limitations that make some experts say they can still recommend vitamin D after all.
See “Vitamin D Deficiency Causes Opioid Addiction in Mice”
For example, the VITAL study looked at people who were more or less in good health; it did not include those who already had osteoporosis or severe vitamin D disorders, notes the Associated Press.
“Just giving people vitamin D is not going to prevent fractures,” Siris tells NBC. “But adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, in my opinion, remains an essential part of treating people with osteoporosis.”